tea parties

The "tea party" movement: Page 2

See the summary for this topic on the main The "tea party" movement page.

Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Poll: GOP obsesses over spending, downplays much more important immigration issue - 04/17/12

The chart below [1] shows that the GOP has become a party of crazed accountants, obsessing over the budget deficit. At the same time, the immigration issue has become less important to the GOP.

That's despite immigration - which determines who lives in the U.S. and who votes - being a far more vital and fundamental issue than spending. Deficits can be reduced in future years with increased economic activity and other means, but immigration is forever and ever and ever.

Tea Party poll: 50% say the more they hear, the less they like; losing young adults, seniors, women... - 04/15/12

A new Washington Post / ABC News poll conducted by Gary Langer shows the Teaparties movement continuing its downward slide in popularity (see our extensive coverage at Tea Parties).

Questions for Marc Thiessen about Marco Rubio (Washington Post, American Enterprise Institute) - 03/26/12

Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute writes a column for the Washington Post and this week he offers "The Great Whisperer" (link) about a supposed whispering campaign against

Dodge, Barron: The GOP and Tea Party need to split up - 03/03/12

The phrase "truer words were never spoke" came to my mind several times as I was reading "The tea party and the GOP: a marriage that isn't working" [1] by Andrew Dodge (former head of the Maine Tea Party Patriots) and Christopher Barron (GOProud). I suggest all of my fellow Tea Parties patriots read it and take its message to heart:

Presente's racial campaign against Marco Rubio (No Somos Rubios) - 01/27/12

Thought experiment: let's say that a Tea Parties group from a heavily-Norwegian-American area of Minnesota had an opponent named Black. Let's say that the Teaparties group came out with a campaign called "We Aren't Black". How do you think the entire political and media class would respond to that?

Teaparty Nation: break California, Illinois into smaller states (Judson Phillips) - 01/09/12

The latest example of a harebrained, anti- and un-American idea from the Tea Parties comes via email from Judson Phillips of the Teaparty Nation group:

...Illinois and California are poised to become America’s Greece. Both have out of control spending problems. They have raised taxes and regulations to the point where businesses and the wealthy are fleeing those states as fast as they can.

...We need to break up both California and Illinois into smaller states.

Russell Pearce concedes: illegal immigration profiteers get a win (Arizona, Jerry Lewis) - 11/09/11

Arizona state senate president Russell Pearce has conceded defeat in his recall election (link), a victory for those who seek to profit from illegal immigration. Pearce has been on the front lines against illegal immigration and is the author of Arizona's SB 1070.

Herman Cain scandal revealed: corruption and incompetence (Politico, Tea Parties) - 11/01/11

In this post I'll reveal the dirty little secrets of the Herman Cain scandal. As you might have heard, that presidential candidate is accused of some form of sexual harassment of colleagues at one of his past jobs, and the latest news is that one of the alleged victims wants to step forward and tell her side of the story (link).

I Am The 53%: Tea Party continues War on The Poor (Erick Erickson, Josh Trevino, Kevin Eder) - 10/12/11

The latest sociopathic effort from the Tea Parties is "I Am The 53%" (#IAmThe53, the53.tumblr.com), a response to the Occupy Wall Street ("OWS") protests. The 53% is a reference to the fact that just 53% of Americans pay federal income tax, and it features pictures of those in the 53% holding up signs describing how they became successful (per them) on their own.

Rightwing's muted response to Brown signing unpopular, anti-American immigration law - 10/09/11

If California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that dared raise taxes on multi-billionaires by even a few pennies, you can bet that rightwing internet activists would be up in arms about it.

Occupy Wall Street or Teaparty: which is more fake? - 10/06/11

Occupy Wall Street ("OWS") as a movement appears to be about as fake as the Tea Parties as a movement. Some or many OWS members seem to support a policy that harms the lower and middle classes while it further enriches the rich. That policy lowers wages and increases costs on the lower and middle classes while enriching bankers and corrupt businesses and giving more power to corrupt politicians.

Most new Texas jobs went to immigrants, legal and illegal (Rick Perry; who to blame; what to do) - 09/22/11

A new study (link) shows that most of the new jobs created in Texas - Rick Perry's "Texas Miracle" - went to immigrants and not native-born workers. And, about half of those immigrants who got jobs are illegal aliens.

This is somewhat bad news for Rick Perry, despite the fact that he's only partly responsible. Below I'll tell you who should bear most of the responsibility and what you can do about this.

Texas Teaparty groups pressure Rick Perry on immigration (sanctuary cities) - 09/19/11

A few days ago, a coalition of tea party and conservative groups came out against an anti-illegal immigration bill. Now, for fair and balanced coverage, there's this (link):

Tea Party activists are promising to hold Rick Perry's feet to the fire over illegal immigration.

Teaparty, conservative groups oppose anti-illegal immigration bill (eVerify, HR 2885) - 09/15/11

One of the main reasons I oppose the tea parties is because they're useful idiots for loose borders hacks: libertarians, fiscal conservatives, corporate tools, and so on. A good example comes in an open letter that a group of Teaparty, conservative, and libertarian groups published in Politico opposing HR 2885, the Legal Workforce Act.

Teaparty shouts "yeah!" to just letting the uninsured die (Ron Paul, CNN, GOP debate) - 09/13/11

Last year, Teapartiers threw dollars bills at and mocked a Parkinson's victim (see the video on tea parties). Their encore was at last night's GOP debate where at least two teapartiers shouted "Yeah!" on whether to allow the uninsured to just die. Video below. Yes, it was just two or three teapartiers, but it's an illustration of the teapartier mindset and where libertarian policies lead.

Is discouraging voting by the poor and welfare recipients a good idea? (Matthew Vadum, American Thinker) - 09/03/11

Over at the completely inaccurately-named American Thinker, Matthew Vadum offers "Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American" [1]. Promoting himself as a controversialist appears to be one of his goals [2] and the article has worked wonders in that regard for him, even if most of the attention has been negative [3].

Is Tea Party a racist group? No, and here's why. - 08/30/11

Calling the Tea Parties a racist group is false and it's counter-productive: there are much better, much healthier, and much more effective way to oppose them. In this post I'll provide very compelling evidence that they aren't racist. Obviously, even the very compelling evidence below isn't going to sway some people who will continue to oppose the teapartiers in counter-productive ways. If you aren't convinced, feel free to leave a comment with a specific, valid argument supporting your position.

The "How is Tea Party Wrong?" Video Contest - 08/25/11

What is it?

The "How is Tea Party Wrong?" video contest is seeking the best video that presents a persuasive argument against the tea parties (see our extensive coverage at that link). The video that wins the contest will be able to change the minds of at least some people about their movement. Anyone can submit a video as long as it's hosted at Youtube (see the fine print below).

How does it work?

Dick Durbin refuses to answer bad Tea Party question; "reporters" run cover for Durbin - 08/12/11

The video below shows Sen. Dick Durbin refusing to answer a question at one of his press conferences, using the fact that the questioner is just a citizen journalist as the pretext. Meanwhile, the supposed real reporters run cover for Durbin, encouraging the citizen journalist to leave. Durbin asks the non-"real" journalist "would you please leave?", refuses to answer his question, and then is asked a setup question by a "real" reporter which he happily answers.

Challenge for liberals: show how Powerline Prize winner is wrong - 08/01/11

Powerline just awarded $100,000 to the video below for winning their Powerline Prize. That alone is an argument against fiscal conservatives, but it's not enough.

Power Line Prize 3rd place winner: satire or just delusional Tea Party fantasy? - 07/28/11

In the "Power Line Prize" competition (see that link), Powerline will be redistributing $100,000 (possibly of other people's money) to the person who can best illustrate the so-called "debt crisis". Yesterday they announced that the video "Dawn of the Debt " was one of two third-place winners. The video is embedded below if you want a good laugh.

Challenge for Teaparty: can you justify cuts to literacy programs (including Reading is Fundamental)? - 07/25/11

Earlier this year, spending by the Department of Education was cut by $750 million at least temporarily by ending or cutting back literacy and other programs. One of those affected was the organization Reading Is Fundamental; all the $24.8 million they were getting from the feds was eliminated.

S.E. Cupp asks GOP candidates weak questions at Twitter "debate" (140Townhall, Rusty Humphries, Tea Party) - 07/20/11

Earlier today, SE Cupp moderated a Twitter-based tea parties "debate" with several GOP candidates for president [1]. She acted the role of the shill, asking them very weak questions and not doing a public service.

Tea Party Patriots admit immigration "isn't an issue for us" (Mark Meckler) - 07/12/11

One of my major complaints about the Tea Party is that they're ignoring immigration to concentrate on issues that are much less popular, much less important, and much less vital. See all the examples in the posts on the tea parties page, and the leader of a major Teaparty group has now explicitly confirmed that his group isn't really all that concerned about an issue that's more important than spending.

Freedomworks uses Teaparty-approved Alinsky tactics... against Teaparty (not a learning experience) - 06/29/11

As discussed on the tea parties page, the teapartiers could have pushed their same aberrant ideology using much more effective and much more civil tactics. Instead, they chose to act like a childish caricature of the far-left: throwing tantrums at public meetings, standing on street corners waving loopy signs, engaging in cheap stunts, playing dress-up games, smearing and lying, and on and on.

Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Limbaugh, Hannity paid to promote FreedomWorks, AFP, Heritage (Koch, immigration) - 06/18/11

Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity are paid large amounts of money to promote groups like FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, and the Heritage Foundation.

Teaparty poll: What decade do you want to "take America back" to? - 06/05/11

A common refrain from the tea parties movement is that they want to "take America back". However that phrase is interpreted, it boils down to the teaparties wanting to return the U.S. to some earlier point in time. What point in time is it that they want to take us back to?

War on Electability: FreedomWorks to oppose Mitt Romney; what the GOP can do (Tea Party) - 05/25/11

Freedomworks is going to actively try to prevent Mitt Romney from getting the GOP nomination [1]. I'm not a fan, but Romney is one of the few electable current or potential candidates. So, the tea parties - controlled in large part by Freedomworks even if they don't know it - might bring their NY-26 magic to the national stage and help elect Barack Obama to four more years.

What the GOP can do about this is to declare "war" on Freedomworks right back:

1. Somehow, some way make an argument that libertarian-oriented policies (or the LibertarianLite version that teapartiers favor) just don't work. It's extremely easy to show that libertarian ideas are the stuff of rainbows and unicorns. The hard part is presenting it in a way that isn't automatically rejected by the teapartiers, who have a very unhealthy mix of emotional failings. In this, the GOP would need to consult the top psychologists in the U.S.

2. (Legally) buy people off. Give slots on Fox News to leading teapartiers to force them into line. I wouldn't do that myself, but that is one way the GOP and their helpers operate.

3. Turn one teaparty group against another or distract them in other ways with shiny objects. To an extent that's already happening; take steps to increase it.

4. Help discredit those who push the teapartiers. That includes bloggers such as Glenn Reynolds and pundits like Michael Barone.

5. And, most importantly of all, help discredit Freedomworks to the teaparty base. That isn't that difficult either since the head of the organization, Dick Armey, supports illegal immigration.

While most of the teaparty base opposes illegal immigration, the teapartiers as a whole have been very quiet about the issue. If the GOP elevated immigration to the key issue it is (much more vital and fundamental than spending) and used that against those like Armey and other teaparty leaders, they could help the U.S. while helping themselves.

[1] Huffington Post link:

[Freedomworks] knows they cannot impose their will on the fiercely independent conservative organizers fueling the Tea Party. But they say the activist base is just as anti-Romney as they are.

(Matt Kibbe) said in an interview that FreedomWorks has no plans at the moment to endorse an opponent of Romney’s in the primary. But others in the organization made clear they will devote considerable resources toward helping whoever emerges as the most viable Republican in the primary other than the putative front runner.

Brendan Steinhauser, who travels around the country meeting with activists as FreedomWorks’ top liaison to the grassroots, said most people he talks to are “definitely trying to stop Romney.”

“I don’t think I’ve met any groups or any local activists that like him or want him to be president,” Steinhauser said. “They just don’t believe he’s authentic. That’s the biggest problem in addition to the health care thing.”

Tea Party loses another race for the GOP (Paul Ryan, upstate New York, Kathy Hochul, Jane Corwin) - 05/24/11

If you're a Republican Party partisan, the tea parties are a mixed blessing. On the one hand, their insane rantings bring a fresh piquancy to the sometimes staid GOP. On the other hand, they're putting pressure on the GOP to be crazy, extremist, and largely unappealing to moderates. And, they're splitting the vote, even when the "Tea Party" candidate appears to be a fake teapartier.

Thus it is in the case of the NY-26 special election from earlier tonight. Democrat Kathy Hochul "defied political experts [who gave] her little chance of success [and] ground out a stunning and surprisingly comfortable victory" (link) against her Republican opponent Jane Corwin. The spoiler in the race was Jack Davis of the "Tea Party"; Davis has previously run as both a Democrat and a Republican.

Davis got 9%, Corwin 42%, and Hochul 48%.

There's backstory on the race here, and from the Buffalo New link note that the teaparty-approved Paul Ryan plan also played a role in turning voters away from the GOP:

The results marked a stunning defeat for the GOP in a contest that garnered significant national attention as the first competitive race following the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives last November.

While the seat has a long GOP pedigree, it became vacant on Feb. 9 when Rep. Chris Lee, R-Amherst, resigned after a gossip website posted shirtless photos of him seeking dates on the Internet.

After Republican proposals to overhaul Medicare made the race a focus of national attention, Hochul began inching past Corwin in the polls and Davis' strong 23 percent showing withered away. By Monday, Corwin seemed to acknowledge what Election Day would bring when she said she should have countered the Democratic assault on her Medicare stand earlier.

UPDATE: Paul Ryan himself admits that his plan played a role in the GOP's loss, then engaged in denial (link):

"There is a Medicare story to be told here ... and it's that the president and his party have decided to shamelessly distort and demagogue Medicare," Ryan said on MSNBC, calling it a "Mediscare" campaign led by President Obama and Democrats in Congress.

David Frum says "Paul Ryan: 2012’s Goldwater?" (link):

The GOP will run on a platform crafted to be maximally obnoxious to downscale voters. Some may hope that Tim Pawlenty’s biography may cushion the pain. Perhaps that’s right, at least as compared to Mitt Romney, who in the 2008 primaries did worst among Republicans earning less than $100,000 a year. And yes, Pawlenty is keeping his distance from the Ryan plan. But biography only takes you so far. The big issues of 2012 will be jobs and incomes in a nation still unrecovered from the catastrophe of 2008-2009. What does the GOP have to say to hard-pressed voters? Thus far the answer is: we offer Medicare cuts, Medicaid cuts, and tighter money aimed at raising the external value of the dollar.

No candidate, not even if he or she is born in a log cabin, would be able to sell that message to America’s working class.

Henry Olsen of the American Enterprise Institute says in part (link):

For whatever reason, the blue-collar independents and Democrats who voted Republican in droves last year did not vote GOP tonight. And many blue-collar Republicans voted for Davis rather than Corwin.

Tea Party helps me show Teapartiers are vile idiots, Part 1 of ? - 05/23/11

As can be seen on the tea parties page, I have a very, very low opinion of their movement. However, there is one good thing about them: they're dumb enough to help me show how they're vile idiots. And, they've done that many, many times.

And, I'll be compiling them into a series.

Massey Energy "profoundly reckless" in mine disaster; Tea Party as useful idiots; Soros, U.S. Chamber - 05/22/11

In April 2010, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia claimed 40 lives. An independent investigation initiated by that state has found that the mine's operator - Massey Energy - was to blame for the tragedy and was "profoundly reckless" [1] [2].

There are also major political components to the tragedy:

1. Massey - led by their former CEO Don Blankenship - played a major role in West Virginia politics [3].

2. In September 2009, Massey sponsored the ""Friends of America Rally" which featured Ted Nugent, Hank Williams Jr, and Sean Hannity. The site friendsofamericarally.com is no longer available, but an archive of their main page is here and a copy of the sponsors page here. While it only appears to have been referred to by that name and not a "Labor Day Tea Party" as some would have it [4], it was a tea party in all but name. This illustrates for about the millionth time that those in the tea parties movement are useful idiots: villains like Don Blankenship hide behind red white and blue banners in order to push a money-making agenda. See some of the responses here. The teaparty mind (such as it is) is unable and unwilling to realize that perhaps *both* the Nancy Pelosi types *and* the Don Blankenship types aren't on their side. Those like Blankenship are consistently able to pull the wool over their eyes, presenting themselves as the only thing standing between Pelosi, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and WORLD COMMUNISM. Nuanced, balanced thinking is not an option for teapartiers. (If you're in the teaparty movement and the foregoing isn't clear, don't just engage in the Jump, Smear, and Lie technique like you want to do (or have been trained to do). Instead, control yourself and start at Glenn Beck encouraging his fans to donate to the illegal immigration-supporting U.S. Chamber of Commerce and then work your way up.)

4. Speaking of the US Chamber of Commerce, Blankenship formerly served on their board until either his term was up or he was pushed out for being a liability. And, unlike others, he's been disappeared from the Chamber's website [5].

5. Never fear: Massey Energy has been sold to Alpha Natural Resources, which might clean up their practices. Except - unbelievably - Alpha is retaining some Massey executives, including Massey's COO as the head of Alpha's main safety program [6]. And, on a note which may or may not be ironic, George Soros has or had a nearly $5 million stake in Alpha [7]. He increased his stake in Massey Energy to nearly $60 million in the second quarter of 2010 [8]; what if any stake he had in them before the tragedy isn't known. And, the report at [2] is from Pro Publica, a group funded in part by Soros.


[1] From this:

Massey Energy Co. (MEE) is to blame for the fatal explosion at its Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia last year, the deadliest U.S. mining disaster in 40 years, an investigator for the state said.

“A company that was a towering presence in the Appalachian coalfields operated its mines in a profoundly reckless manner, and 29 coal miners paid with their lives for the corporate risk- taking,” according to a report released today. “The company broke faith with its workers by frequently and knowingly violating the law and blatantly disregarding known safety practices.”

The report by former federal mine administrator J. Davitt McAteer, named in 2010 by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin to examine the blast, is among three government investigations of the disaster. Federal and state mining agencies have yet to issue reports...

...McAteer’s investigation found that the disaster was man- made and preventable had Massey followed “basic, well-tested” safety procedures. The report cited failures to maintain a functioning ventilation system, comply with federal and state rock-dusting standards and properly maintain the safety features on mine machinery.

..."Our experts continue to study the UBB explosion and our goal is to find answers and technologies that ultimately make mining safer," [Massey General Counsel Shane Harvey] said in an e-mail...

[2] From ProPublica (link):

The report, which was commissioned by West Virginia's former governor, noted that 18 current and former executives invoked their Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination and refused to cooperate with investigators...

...“It is only in the context of a culture bent on production at the expense of safety that these obvious deviations from decades of known safety practices make sense,” the report said. It also noted that the company’s practices haven’t improved much—if at all—since the disaster occurred.

“More than a year after 29 men died in the Upper Big Branch mine, there is strong evidence that Massey has not changed the manner in which it operates its mines,” the report said.

[3] ibid:

Investigators said the coal giant had “used the leverage of jobs it provided to attempt to control West Virginia’s political system,” casting inspectors, regulators, and even politicians and community residents as enemies. According to the report, the company’s former CEO, Don Blankenship instilled fear in local politicians by spending “vast amounts of money to influence elections.”

[4] crooksandliars . com/karoli/
Mining that for facts is left as an exercise; note that I've been banned from Crooks and Liars.

[5] From July 14, 2010, workinprogress.firedoglake . com/2010/07/14/

As recently as June 29, Massey was listed as a member of the Chamber’s Board. But now, his name doesn’t appear on the list of current board members, and his specific profile page has been deleted from the website.

"June 29" is a link to Google's cache, and his former page is at uschamber.com/about/board/directory/blankenship.htm. The Chamber tells them that Blankenship had simply served three two-year terms, which they claim is the limit under their by-laws. That doesn't explain why they'd delete his profile page.

Note that his profile page now resolves to uschamber.com/node/9159. The page uschamber.com/node/9158 still exists and is for Mary Birch, who apparently used to serve on their board. Likewise with uschamber.com/node/9157 for James Berges. It appears that Blankenship has been sent down the memory hole.

[6] From this:

The miners' union blasted coal company Alpha Natural Resources (ANR.N) for giving senior management positions to executives of Massey Energy (MEE.N) when Alpha takes over the company blamed for the worst U.S. mine disaster in 40 years.

"The wisdom of putting these people into critical slots in Alpha must be called into serious question," United Mine Workers of America (UMW) International President Cecil Roberts said in a statement on Friday...

...[Roberts] singled out Chris Adkins, Massey's Chief Operating Officer, noting he was in charge when two miners died in a previous mine fire and that he had not testified at the Upper Big Branch investigation.

"Yet Chris Adkins is slated to be one of the people who Alpha said will 'spearhead the implementation,' of its safety program. That's frankly incomprehensible to me. Chris Adkins doesn't belong in Alpha's executive offices."

[7] From this:

Soros Fund Management LLC reported owning 82,800 Alpha shares, valued at about $4.9 million, as of March 31, up from 5,500 shares as of Dec. 31, 2010.

[8] From this:

Soros Fund Management LLC, which oversees $25 billion, purchased 1.7 million shares of Massey during the [second quarter of 2010], according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. The New York-based fund’s position was valued at $59.4 million at the end of June.

Delusional John Hinderaker thinks only left engages in "personal intimidation" - 05/12/11

John Hinderaker of Powerline offers "The Politics of Personal Intimidation" [1] in which he's yet again delusional:

A disturbing new element has crept into our political life: organized efforts to intimidate private citizens who choose to support certain political causes or otherwise participate in civic affairs... [examples of leftists swarming houses of their opponents and much more deleted] ...Conservatives are decent people and don't engage in such repugnant tactics.

The last sentence of the excerpt [2] would only make sense if Hinderaker had never heard of the tea parties. Since he's clearly heard of them, is he either delusional, or is he trying to mislead?

One of the reasons why I oppose the teapartiers is because they act just as badly as vile leftists. Certainly, no teapartiers have as far as I know swarmed the houses of their opponents. However, they have thrown dollar bills at a Parkinson's sufferer (see the last link). And, about the only arguments they can ever present are vile ad hominens, as I well know. For just one example, see this. For more, see some of the posts at the tea parties link above, or Glenn Reynolds trying and failing to whitewash how the teapartiers have acted, or some other posts on the Glenn Reynolds page. For even more, see some of the replies I've received from teapartiers are various sites, such as Ann Althouse (as "LonewackoDotCom").

I even coined a term for how the teapartiers make an argument: the Jump, Smear, and Lie Technique. And, because of that technique, I have to point out that this post is not in any way supportive of leftists swarming the houses of their opponents. (And, because I know full well how teapartiers operate, I know they won't bother clicking those links.)

The point of this post isn't to support Leftists Behaving Badly, it's to point out that self-styled conservatives are now acting almost as bad. And, all of that was done with the silent (or not so silent) assent of their leaders.

[1] powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/05/029018.php

[2] In the full post, Hinderaker mentions a supposed plan by Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films to film the houses of the Koch family. I oppose both parties: Greenwald for supporting illegal immigration, and the Kochs for funding loose borders groups. Hinderaker can only rise to opposing one of those parties. Hinderaker also mentions Katrina vanden Heuvel, just not in the way that I do (see the link).

Palatine Teaparty opposes Illinois DREAM Act (for completely wrong reasons) - 05/09/11

Illinois' state Senate recently passed a state version of the DREAM Act; the bill is designed to make it easier for illegal aliens to attend college (and, it's not the same as the national bill; see [1]). One Tea Parties group in that state is opposing it, but for the completely wrong reasons; see below.

Teaparty leader Dick Armey now wants Mitch Daniels for president - 04/29/11

Teaparty leader Dick Armey of FreedomWorks has announced that Mitch Daniels would be the "perfect pick" for president (link, video here). Let's review:

A list of "conservative" bloggers who are actually Communist agents of George Soros - 04/18/11

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's with a heavy heart that I bring you today's post. I didn't want to have to write this post, and I didn't want to have to think about what I'm going to reveal. However, someone has to be looking out for the United States when she's under attack by forces who will do anything - and say anything - to bring her down.

I'm sorry, I choked up a bit there. But, I will persevere. Ladies and Gentlemen, I have shocking news for you.

Government spending & the deficit are a distraction from much more important issues - 04/09/11

Last night, Congress finally did something about massive government spending (link), the single most important issue ever to face the U.S. and the only thing keeping us from continued hope, growth, opportunity and prosperity.

Er, maybe not. And, in fact, others used to agree. For instance, consider this table showing the average number of monthly mentions of the listed terms at HotAir [1]. In 2007 there were an average of just 8 mentions per month of the word "deficit" at HotAir. By 2011, there were an average of 222 mentions per month:

  "deficit" "spending" "budget"
2011 (4 months) 222 497 1242
2010 121 281 680
2009 96 278 588
2008 30 198 579
2007 8 133 511
2006 (8 months) 10 63 318

For another data point, consider this: just over three years ago, the Comptroller of the U.S. (David Walker) resigned in protest over spending and commenced a "Fiscal Wake-Up Tour" warning about deficits. Walker's events weren't exactly greeted by hordes of teapartiers, in fact few people showed up at all. The year before he quit, Walker appeared on CBS News' Sixty Minutes (link):

''I would argue,'' he told Steve Kroft, ''that the most serious threat to the United States is not someone hiding in a cave in Afghanistan or Pakistan but our own fiscal irresponsibility.''

Mr. Walker, who heads the Government Accountability Office, has embarked on a mission to take his message to the people because, he says, politicians don't want to hear about it, much less act.

But that mission may be quixotic. If Mr. Walker's alarms are valid, the near total lack of a response to the report is quite disturbing. There was very little in the way of reaction from blogs or in most of the media this week.

If he'd done that this year, he'd have his own 4-hour daily show on Fox News by now.

To be clear, spending and deficits are important. However, they aren't by any stretch of the imagination the only issues the U.S. has and they aren't the most important issues (more on that below).

The word "interest" above is a huge understatement. At present, the GOP - led around by the small but very loud and annoying tea parties types - acts like a drugged-up, green eyeshaded, OCD-suffering, rabies-inflicted crazy accountant. Concerns about spending, budgets, and the deficit have passed beyond the normal realm and are now not just an unhealthy obsession for much of the GOP base, but also "Boob Bait for Bubba" for their leaders. Those leaders are using this issue only partly because it's important, but also because it helps distract from other, more important issues. And, those are the same leaders who for the most part ignored George W Bush's massive spending, such as somewhere between $1 and $3 trillion on the Iraq war. The people who now make up the tea parties were around then, but they were oddly silent and now they refuse to account for their whereabouts during the eight Bush years.

And, even if we could get spending under control, we'd still be faced with much greater and much more fundamental issues, many of which are social in nature. To list just a few:

* Education issues, including general low knowledge of civics, foreign countries, and so on.

* Pollution, something that the GOP would make worse with their very corporate-friendly calls to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency.

* Reliance on foreign energy, something that the teaparty types do occasionally mention. Then, they launch into their "Real Men Don't Push Green Energy" trained behaviors.

* Global warming, a topic greeted by hysteria and sloppy thinking on all sides. Those in effect paid off by corporations retail "Real Men Think Global Warming is a Myth" to the teaparty types which buy it up. At the same time, those who warn about the issue engage in various forms of propaganda and many of them seem to have ulterior motives just like their opponents. The rational approach - realizing it might be happening and taking reasonable steps to mitigate it - is favored by only a few.

* Government corruption of various kinds.

* Media bias and disinformation in general.

* De-industrialization, outsourcing, and globalism-related issues.

* And, the issue of all issues facing the U.S., illegal immigration and massive immigration in general. That plays a role in some of the issues above, it increases spending, and it reduces the political power of the GOP and of the tea party types. And, decades from now all of the low-skilled immigrants who've been allowed to come here will be retiring and others like them will be trying to support our generous social welfare programs. Even Obama admits that's a problem. Yet, the tea party types have largely ignored the immigration issue since they started.

Bottom line: don't trust the libertarians and tea party types because their OCD-level obsession with fiscal issues will just allow other, far more important issues to get even worse.

[1] The numbers in the chart were obtained through this google search (and by changing the year and the search term): site:hotair.com inurl:2011 deficit
The number of results was then divided by the number of months that HotAir had coverage for that year. Bear in mind that such a search is hardly an exact science for various reasons, but if there were a huge concern about deficits in 2007 one would certainly expect more than 8 results per month on average.